The recent Tyson Fury ‘win’ against rookie boxer Frances Ngannou was, how should I put it diplomatically? A debatable de£ision.

Having watched the fight, I am in a huge majority who believe that the outcome was pre-ordained and the only way Ngannou was going to walk out victorious was by knocking Fury out for the count.

Ringside read like a celebrity whose-who with Eminem, Mike Tyson, both Ronaldos and Conor McGregor in attendance, as the Saudi went all out to put its sportswashing mark on boxing, as it has football.

Here, as traditionalists, despite the new wave of oil money buying success for teams such as Manchester City, there is still great emphasis put on history and roots as the recent passing and the replaying of black and white footage of Sir Bobby Charlton demonstrates.

Epping Forest Guardian: Brett Ellis is concerned about oil money buying success for football teamsBrett Ellis is concerned about oil money buying success for football teams

Teams such as Manchester United, much to my chagrin, have a history built up over generations from when it was a true working class game as crowds of men, after a tough week in a manual labour hellhole, relaxed by standing on the terraces and cheering on their heroes who had caught the bus with them to the game.

As a professional footballer nearing the end of their career, who can blame them for their greed? With around 47% of their income in the UK going to the taxman, the Saudis with income tax of 0% offer a lucrative get rich quick scheme as they pay average players, such as Jordan Henderson, £700,000 per week.

Quite simply - money talks. As our former heroes sell their souls to the financial devil: Henderson, with his rainbow laced long held pro-LBGT stance whilst in the UK, has gone for a burton whilst he ply’s his trade in a country where homosexuality is punishable by death.

The Saudis have admitted as part of their ‘Vision 2030’ plan, that they need to diversify beyond oil to ‘spur tourism’ and encourage fitness in a country with an obesity problem.

The reality however is that with an appalling human rights record and a regime that is as conductive to mass tourism as Stevie Wonder is to F1, they are attempting, and failing, to sportswash their image in double quick time as renegade sportspeople cash in for a year or two and then get the hell out of there.

Money talks, yes, but as with football, boxing and golf (they recently launched a £2bn LIV tour) interest will wain as they see no return on their investments and oil revenues drop annually.

The only game they should be investing in if they want to remain as middle eastern power brokers is the ‘long game’ and not by throwing cash into a furnace that will heat up faster than they can throw money at it.

  • Brett Ellis is a teacher.